Calls for probe as dead dolphins wash up near Mauritius oil spill

At least 14 dead dolphins washed up on Mauritius’s shore following an oil spill from a Japanese ship.

Greenpeace has called on the government of Mauritius to carry out an “urgent investigation” after several dead dolphins washed up on the island country’s shores, a month after a major oil spill caused by a ship that ran aground.

“This is a deeply sad and alarming day for the people of Mauritius,” Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa’s senior climate and energy campaign manager, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Greenpeace appeals to the authorities to carry out a swift, transparent and public autopsy on the bodies collected.”

The Japanese-owned MV Wakashio struck a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island on July 25 and began spilling oil on August 6, prompting the government to announce a state of environmental emergency.

The spill spread over a vast area of endangered corals, affecting fish and other marine life in what some scientists have called the country’s worst ecological disaster.

The impact of the spill is still unfolding, scientists said, and the damage could affect Mauritius and its tourism-dependent economy for decades.

The Associated Press news agency on Wednesday cited environmental groups and experts as saying at least 14 dead dolphins had washed up on Mauritius’s coast. Other dolphins stranded onshore and appeared seriously ill, according to environmental consultant Sunil Dowarkasing.

“This is a terrible day. We are seeing these dolphins swim up to the shore in distress and then die,” said Dowarkasing, a former member of parliament. “We have never seen deaths of these very intelligent marine mammals like this. Never.”

Jasvin Sok Appadu, a government official from the fisheries ministry, put the number at 17.

“The dead dolphins had several wounds and blood around their jaws, no trace of oil, however. The ones that survived, around 10, seemed very fatigued and could barely swim,” Appadu told Reuters news agency.

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